In case you’ve missed it, there is a Gin revival going on at the moment. It’s a bit the Christian Revival movements of the past, but with a lot more emphasis on Gin. This revival pushed UK sales of Gin to sales over £1bn for the first time in 2015. This interest in Gin is been driven in part by the many new brands entering the market. One of these is William’s Chase Elegant Gin, described as “The current darling of the country set“.
Like all good Gin brands this one has a story and a Unique Selling Point (USP) behind it. The Gin is the brainchild of William Chase, the “Serial Entrepreneur” who brought you Tyrrells – The Expensive Crisps™. This gin is made from apples, grown on Mr Chase’s farm. The apple juice is fermented into cider, then distilled into the vodka-spirit base for the gin. According to the web-site there are 11 botanicals used including “juniper, coriander, angelica, liquorice, orrice, orange, lemon, hops, elderflower and Bramley apple“. That list makes 10 botanicals, so you have to guess the eleventh. If, like me, you are wondering what orrice is, it’s the root from an Iris plant, an according to my spell-checker is normally spelt as orris. Since I know you care about these things, the Williams Chase website mentions that the gin is distilled in a Carterhead still called “Ginny” (boom, boom).
Now we have the back-story out of the way let’s cover the gin.
Day or Night Gin ? It’s clocked at 48% alcohol by volume, so clearly a night gin (which is something I might regret having written this post on a sunny summer morning).
What does it smell of ? Not much. Really. OK, so there is a slight juniper smell, but not much. The Williams Chase website suggests I should be detecting “Fresh aromas of juniper, citrus fruit and spices”.
What does it taste of ? If I’m being honest here not much, it starts out bitter, (imagine a mix of petrol, juniper and lemon ?) and then goes a little earthy (is that an Orris root I taste) before a short sharp finish. Where it really doesn’t work is in a gin and tonic. I’m most of the way through this bottle and have yet to make a great G&T out of it. Normally I’d go 1:2 gin to tonic, but that results in an overpoweringly alcohol-tasting G&T. Drop the mix down to 1:3 and you’re drinking a vodka-infused tonic water. I’ve gone through my full palate of tonics trying to bring this drink to life, everything from a spicy 28 Drinks, the floral Fevertree, the trusty Goldberg and even the rather staid Schweppes. In fairness to the brand I’m a G&T man. Perhaps, as the website suggests, it works best in a Gin Martini
Buy It ? William Chase’s own website is selling a 70cl bottle for £42.50. For prices in Euros I would normally check the Galeria-Kaufhof website, but, rather tellingly, it doesn’t include it in it’s selection. Other websites seem to be offering it for around €40 per bottle. It’s a lot of money for a very-average gin.
Overall 1/5 I was going to give it 2 out of 5, but for a gin selling at such a price I’d really expect more.